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Life of Noah

Paul S Ferguson

A Saint Among Sinners

The author waives all copyright to this material, save to the extent that in accordance with Christian principles, full acknowledgement is made in any reproduction to its source and the author and the work is not sold for commercial profit. All Scripture references are from the King James Version of the Bible

2012 Rev (Dr) Paul Ferguson Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Shalom Chapel, 345 Old Choa Chu Kang Road, Singapore 689485

A World Consumed By Sin (Genesis 6:1-7)
The life of Noah is one of the most inspirational stories in the Bible. This man lived for God amidst a society that was wholly devoted to the pursuit of sin. He was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5) in a world that was increasingly hostile to his message. For at least 120 years he preached the truth of the judgment of God. By the end he was a solitary witness of the truth of Gods word. He may not have been numerically successful, but he was faithful in his generation. Each year, Noah must have witnessed the number of believers diminish and the number of the ungodly rapidly increase. This must have been discouraging. Yet throughout it all we read this testimony, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (v9b). He did not discredit his message by his life. By Gods grace, he raised three children in such an era and was able to find them wives and get his whole family onto that ark. The time that Noah lived in was a world filled with men and women infected with the spirit of Cain and Lamech. As this history will repeat itself, we must pay particular heed to this incident. The Lord Jesus Christ warned that the spirit of the age of Noah will resemble the spirit of the age before Christ returns the second time (Matt. 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27). The days of Noah were a time of population growth (v1), marriage according to the flesh, demonic activity (v2), perpetual seeking after sin in the heart of man (5), and widespread corruption and violence (v11). People simply lived for self and had no fear or care that judgment was coming.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. (v1-2)

There is much speculation and debate over who these sons of God and the daughters of men are amongst the various commentators. There are two main viewpoints. One view argues that the sons of God refers to fallen angels and the the daughters of men are human women who then intermarry. This is the view of the oldest Jewish tradition. Another view takes the position that the sons of God refers to the sons of the godly line of Seth who then intermarry with the the daughters of men who are the offspring of the ungodly Cainite line. FIRST VIEW - SONS OF GOD ARE DEMONS The proponents of the first view point out that fact that when the term sons of God, is used in the Bible, it always refers to angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; Psa. 29:1; 89:6). Advocates for this view argue that there seems to be a deliberate contrast made between the sons of God and the daughters of men implying a different in essence between them. So, the argument is that these sons of God were demonic fallen angels who took on physical form and had sexual relationships with earthly women who are the daughters of men. These demons defied God by leaving the condition of the spirit world where God had placed them and entered the human realm. This unholy union produced a superhuman race of mighty men which were of old, men of renown. This was a satanic plot to overthrow Gods promise of sending a Saviour through the seed of the woman.

Objectors point out that Jesus Christ stated that angels cannot marry in heaven (Matt. 22:30), but advocates of the first view argue that Christ only limited His remarks to angels in heaven and did not necessarily preclude demon angels marrying on earth. They also point out that the NT mentions demons associated with the time of the flood abandoning their previous position (1 Pet. 3:19, 20; 2 Pet. 2:4, 5; Jude 6). This invoked the judgment of God. Other suggestive evidence is the fact that there are times when angels can carry out functions of humans, such as the angels eating the meal in Genesis 18:8. The Lord Jesus Christ was also able to take on a human nature in the Incarnation so it is not true that a personal being who is spirit cannot take on human form. It should also be noted that in Genesis 19 the men of Sodom desired to have homosexual relations with the two angels sent there, which may imply that physical relationships with the angelic world may be possible on earth. There are other difficulties with this first view. It raises all kinds of theological questions regarding the nature of man. There is no hint in the Scriptures that there is a possibility of reproduction outside the specific kinds of species. We have no explicit biblical support of fallen angels ever taking on human flesh with physical DNA. If demons could intermarry with humans, then what is the nature of the offspring? Are they part man and part angel souls? Why did Paul say in Acts 17 that And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth if some men were the product of demons and humans? It must also be noted that although the term sons of God is used to refer to angels in the Old Testament, it seems to refer to righteous angels in the context. The very term sons of God does not appear a title that should be ascribed to fallen angels. SECOND VIEW - SONS OF GOD ARE SETHS OFFSPRING The argument for this position is tied into the context. To introduce the need for demons to reproduce with human women, with all the attendant theological difficulties, is not necessitated by the passage. There are no express statements in the subsequent verses that the offspring of these relationships are anything other than humans. In v4-13 the text repeatedly refers to the degenerate population of the earth as men. The emphasis in chapter six is on the sins of men and not on fallen angels. In particular, the Lord explicitly states that His anger is upon man who is flesh in v3, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh. Indeed, the comparison between Noah in v9 and the rest of humanity is not on the basis that one group is half-demon and he is fully human but on the fact that Noah was righteous and the other part of humanity was not. Furthermore, in the previous chapters, the Holy Spirit is clearly drawing a comparison between the godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain. There is nothing to really suggest a complete change of thought here. By the end of chapter six we see a clear breakdown in this line of separation so that there are only 8 righteous persons left from the line of Seth. Obviously, there has been intermarrying going on with the values of the Cainite line having, in the main, been adopted by the Sethite line. The widespread spiritual contamination caused by such deliberate compromise is clearly evidenced. This tactic of marrying believers and unbelievers is a familiar strategy of the devil in Scripture. For instance, Balaam snared many Israelite men with attractive Moabite women in Numbers 25. Moses continually warns against it in the Pentateuch so this is likely just another example of the danger of it. To the objection that the sons of God is used to describe only angels in the OT, the proponents of the second view point out that the Bible does refer to OT believers as Gods sons

(cf. Deut. 14:1; Isa. 1:2; Hosea 1:10) and Adam is explicitly named as the son of God in Luke 3:38. It should be noted that angels are not referred to as sons of God in the Pentateuch but believers are in Deuteronomy 14:1 and 32:19. The Jewish reader should easily be able to make the connection. Respected commentators, like Leupold, argue that Moses used the term sons of God here to emphasise the high standards of the Sethite line, who were to produce believers who are expressly called the children of God in the NT (John 1:12). By intermarrying with the godless daughters of Cain they corrupted the godly line, which inevitably resulted in Gods judgment. On balance, I believe that the second view is preferable that this incident represents a hell inspired corruption of the Sethite line by intermarriage with the sensual and godless daughters of the Cainite line. Doubtless, the devil and his angels were behind these unbiblical intermarriages of the two lines. Some of the intermarrying may have been as a consequence of widespread demon possession of the line of Seth. That possibility is biblically warranted (Mark 5:1-20). Even the devil was able to enter the material world and possess a serpent in Eden. These compromising descendants of Seth, under demonic control or influence, then judged any future life partner on the basis of external physical attraction, the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. The descendants of Seth chose their life partners without reference to the will of God. No emphasis is placed on godly character or spirituality. The physical beauty of the women took precedence over the Word of God that the line of faith ought to be kept pure. Marriage was no more than the satisfaction of pure sensual appetites. It is a picture of uncontrolled lust that is reminiscent of Eve when she fell by looking at the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3:6. Steve Cole makes a pertinent application to unmarried believers, Satan often uses wrongful marriages as the area of compromise to seduce Gods people. It is an effective tool, since the sex drive and the emotions of romantic love are so powerful. I have seen many young people neutralized in their Christian lives by marrying nice unbelievers or worldly-minded professing Christians. It is proper to be physically attracted to the person you marry. But to marry primarily because of physical attraction is a serious mistake. The typical short-lived Hollywood marriage ought to tell us that. But Satan uses this weapon over and over. Whatever position one adopts on the question of who the sons of God are, what must be recognised is that this is the second attempt by the devil to undermine the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. The first attempt was in Cains murder of Abel in Genesis 4:8. Instead of murdering the godly seed, the devil now tries to corrupt it. He knows that a Saviour cannot be born from a demon-possessed race. Satan very nearly succeeds in his attempt to infiltrate the human race by Genesis 6:11-13. The picture Moses presents of the pre-Flood generation is of a demonized civilisation with unrestrained immorality and violence.
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. (v3)

The deep depravity of mankind does not go unnoticed by God. He warns that His grace to sinners has a limit, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh. All the time of the growing wickedness the Holy Spirit has been at work seeking to convict sinners and bring

them to repentance. This work has a limit. A solemn revelatory warning follows that the coming judgment is about to be realised in 120 years, yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. The Flood was 1656 years after creation so this warning would be at the year 1536. God postpones judgment for another 120 years to allow man time to repent. But the judgment is inevitable even if it appears delayed from mans perspective. This is the way this incident is applied in 2 Peter 3:1-9 of the final judgment of this world. There will not be a flood for our generation to destroy this present world, but fire will burn it up. In other words a sign hangs over our planet Last time water - Next time fire.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (v4)

This expression giants does not necessarily mean giants in physical stature, although it could mean this. Physically powerful men could easily have led the widespread violence referred to in v11-12. The Hebrew word translated giants is nephilim can also carry the meaning of great men of mental stature and physical power. These nephilim were on the earth on the pre-Flood days and later other nephilim would be on the earth in the days of Moses (cf. Num.13:33). It must be noted that the verse does not teach that the nephilim were the product of the union between the sons of God and the daughters of men. They were on the earth before that point. Genesis 4 reminded us of the Cainite lines resourcefulness and abilities. The offspring of this union between the two lines of the Cainites and the Sethites with their long life spans and the experience acquired from their ancestors from the two family trees would have been impressive. They would have been very knowledgeable, resourceful, and influential, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Amidst the spiritual degeneracy, there was incredible human accomplishments and power on the planet. Leupold notes, They achieved a reputation the world over by their violence, but a reputation better deserving of the term notoriety. The world certainly did not in those days, even as it does not now, esteem godly men highly. Only the wicked were renowned or had a name. This wicked generation knew so much, but ultimately understood so little. They would fully agree with the poet who boasted, I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul. The men were high achievers and the women were beautiful which drew the admiration and fear of the world, but God is not impressed.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (v5-7)

The language here emphatically describes the utter depravity of the pre-Flood civilisation. A blacker picture could not be painted of the malignant character of sin. The only thing man now lived for was to conceive further ways of sinning, that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. There was no relenting or repenting in this pursuit of evil. Passages like

Genesis 19 and Romans 1 gives a detailed insight into the reality of life in such a society. Alfred Edersheim notes, This means more than the total corruption of our nature, as we should now describe it, and refers to the universal prevalence of open, daring sin, and rebellion against God, brought about when the separation between the Sethites and the Cainites ceased. There was a reaction from God when He noted the depraved state of mankind, And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. This does not mean that God recognised that He had made a mistake. We know that God is unchangeable in His person, perfections, and purposes (Malachi 3:6; Eph. 1:11). The use here of the expression repented is what we call anthropomorphic language, which describes Gods actions in human terms to aid our finite understanding. This is a divine condescension by God to explain Gods actions in terms we can grasp. It conveys the depth of sorrow that God felt, as He observed the corruption of sin in His Creation (cf. Ezek. 33:11). The Lord is not indifferent to sin. The same is true today as God grieves over the broken homes, sexual immorality, lies, atheism, and violence that pervade our world. God is not simply grieved at the sinfulness of mankind. He also purposes to judge this declension, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. The cesspool of sin was so deep; that the only thing left was to judge it in destruction. It was irredeemable. There could be no half measures in dealing with such sin. God would have to destroy the world and start again. He would uncreate in an unprecedented judgment what He had once created and pronounced good. A whole civilisation will be literally swept away under the waters of judgment. This passage had the echo of the warnings of Romans 1, where God gives man over to the consequences of his own sinful choices.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 1. 2. 3. What parallels can we draw between the last days and the days of Noah? How evil was the pre-Flood generation? What does this passage teach us about Gods judgment and grace?

Faithful Among the Faithless (Genesis 6:8-22)
The picture painted at the beginning of this chapter could not be much worse. Amidst the blackness of depravity that now consumed almost every corner of the planet, God was at work preserving a remnant for His glory. Even in the midst of terrible judgment there is grace. We saw this in Genesis 3:15. The reality of grace in such a context provides great encouragement. When sin was at its zenith, Gods grace can still reach down, transform a sinner like Noah, and make him one of the godliest of saints. He would be a faithful light amidst the faithlessness. Where sin abounds, grace can still overcome, But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Rom. 5:20). If you do not understand the role of sin and grace on this planet, you can never understand the history and future of mankind.
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (v8-10)

The key to this wonderful testimony, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (v9b) is Gods grace alone, But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the first time the word grace appears in the Bible, although Gods saving grace was already in action towards Adam and Eve previously. It was not that Noah was a better man than anyone else or had a greater natural inclination towards God, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God (Rom. 3:10b-11). We will even find after the Flood that this man was a sinner (cf. Gen. 9:20-24). Noah did not earn this grace, but this was sovereignly given to him. This grace justified him and that is why he was declared a just man. The divine order is always grace given, But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and then a man is declared justified, Noah was a just man. When a man is truly justified, he will then live a righteous life before men, perfect in his generations. (cf. Eph. 2:8-10). That order can never be reversed.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. (v11-12)

This is a summary of the debauchery and depravity on the planet. It is a world in the final stages of moral implosion. From mans perspective things looked rosy and progressive, but from Gods viewpoint, The earth also was corrupt before God. Man is rotten to the very core. The continual evil imaginations lead to continual evil actions. The unthinkable became thinkable, and then doable in such a world. Violence and corruption are endemic. Human life was cheap. Steve Cole comments, Moral degradation and violence go together. When people cast off Gods standards for right and wrong, self becomes the standard. Self grabs whatever it can get, regardless of

others. Violence is the gruesome result. Because of the degree of moral degradation and violence, God wiped out everything through the flood. The Bible does not specify all of the types of sin that were present. It is as if God is drawing a veil for us over the blackness of such a picture. However, we can be sure that it was a day when every possible sin was widely explored, practiced, and justified. It was a time when there was no fear of sin or fear of God. Man was indifferent to the degeneration. It was Business as usual. Man just lived for the moment, For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away.. (Matt. 24:38-39). These days would have been days of hell on earth. We get a snapshot of such a society in Genesis 19. When Lot brought the two angelic visitors into his home we read, But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. (Gen. 19:4-5) The depravity was so bad in Sodom that all the men, both old and young, all the people from every quarter were consumed with the thought of doing acts of gross wickedness. Even when they were struck by blindness we read, they wearied themselves to find the door (v11). This was a society wholly given over to pursuing sin. They lived for the gratification of their lusts. There was no thought of God or His judgment. These men of Sodom were a thoughtful people, but only about sin and themselves! The summary in v11-12 of the saturation of sin across the globe puts Noahs walk with God in the proper context. This man stood alone as a bright and shining light of the grace of God. He would have to walk to a different drumbeat from the world; he would have to withstand the temptation of peer pressure; and he would have to endure the scoffing of those around him. No one likes to be different, but Noah was willing to endure. He lived habitually like this during that 120 year age, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. That is some testimony. We need to remember that he had no Bible, no church, and no example of the endurance of a Noah to encourage him to live this way. This testimony demonstrated that Noah lived right before God and man. He was not just a holy man on the Sabbath but all through the week. His marriage relationship was based on fidelity to the oaths he took. He loved his wife and was faithful to her. Noah loved and cared for his children. He taught them Gods word and exhorted them to conform their lives to what God had decreed was right and avoid what God had decreed was wrong. Noahs neighbours may have been convicted and even angered by his testimony before them, but they had to respect its consistency.
And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (v13)

God has been very longsuffering with humanity. He now decreed that enough was enough, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them. There is no hope for such a people. The day of grace was rapidly coming to an end. The only thing left for such a society

was to erase it from the face of the earth, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Derek Kidner explains, what God decided to destroy had been virtually self-destroyed already. God cannot tolerate sin, as He is a holy and just God. This decree of judgment by God is consistent and predictable, as God will always act in accordance with His holy and just nature. Lloyd Jones put it, God must punish sin. He cannot deny Himself. He cannot go back on His own nature and on His own character. God and sin are eternal incompatibilities.
Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. (v14-17)

This will be no local flood but a universal one, And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. After declaring His judgment upon sinners, God then provides a way for His remnant people to survive the flood, Make thee an ark of gopher wood. This is Gods plan not Noahs idea. Noah is required to obey, And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of. The ark would be around 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Itwould be a large floating rectangle of around 1.5 million cubic feet. The ark was designed not for mobility or for speed, as there was nowhere to go. A trained engineer, Henry Morris concluded that the arks design was incredibly stable and would be virtually impossible to turn it over. Not only would Noah have to build the shell, but also he was commanded to add decks and cubicles within it. Likely many workers would have to be employed to assist Noah in constructing such a vessel. It is said that this ark was the largest floating vessel ever built until the 19thcentury. The only way Noah could build such a boat was by faith, By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Heb. 11:7) Noah could have hesitated at such a blueprint and order. Doubtless, the devil whispered many reasons for him to doubt God. Many of Noahs neighbours would have laughed at him and argued that he had lost his mind. Some of his closest friends and family likely thought that the old man was hearing voices. There had never been rain let alone a flood on the earth before (cf. Gen. 2:5-6). Humanely speaking, such a catastrophe was impossible and unprecedented. All of perceived scientific wisdom said it cannot and will not happen. There was also the physical cost and effort required to build such a vessel. It was no insignificant task for a man already over 500 years old. The pressures to give up throughout the 120 years would have been tremendous. Despite the fact that the flood warning was unprecedented of things not seen as yet, Noah believed Gods promises and fully acted upon Gods word. He did not argue about the logic or feasibility of such a request. God said it and that settled it for Noah. This faithful obedience was not for a moment but for 120 years. That is true and powerful faith.


We must also note the faith of Noahs wife and sons. There is no record that God spoke directly to them. It would not have been easy for them to stand with Noah when everyone else was ridiculing him. All of humanity were exploring culture, science, agriculture, and enjoying to the full all the pleasures of sin, but not in their home. They were commanded to walk with God and spent the next 120 years constructing a gigantic boat. Doubtless, many pious sounding relatives and neighbours would have warned them that Noah was a sincere man but had lost his mind or had become too extreme. It would have been easy for them in a day of rebelliousness and immorality to abandon their embarrassing husband and father. Everyone would have understood and sympathised. However, Noahs wife and sons clearly saw something in the character of Noahs life that made them willing to embrace the promises of God to destroy the world. His faith in God had a powerful effect on his family. Godly fathers more often than not produce godly offspring. Shem, Ham, and Japheth embraced the faith of their father. Those principles are just as true today. Children discern far more of God by what parents are than often by what they say. Ray Pritchard notes, This is the power of a godly example. It is also the power of a godly husband and father. Men, God holds you accountable to set the pace for your entire family. Your wife looks to you for leadership. Your sons and daughters will be like you, for better or for worse. If you abdicate your responsibility, your wife will never be able to fully take your place. And if you live out your faith every day, its natural and normal to expect your family to follow in your steps.
But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. (v18 -21)

A covenant is an agreement between two parties, the obligations of which are mutually binding. God sovereignly and unilaterally undertakes to enter into a covenant with Noah here to save Noahs family and to never again to destroy the world by water. The full terms of this covenant are spelt out in chapter nine. The whole future of the earth will be tied up in that floating box. Every animal species that we see today on the planet were represented in that ark.
Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. (v22)

Even if Noah believed that God would send a flood judgment, he had to still evidence his faith by building the ark in order to be saved. By faith, Noah started working and kept going until this great task was completed. There were no half measures of corner cutting. Day after day he went out to work on this great boat that was taking shape. Decade after decade passed but he never gave up. He did everything God commanded him. And God took note of such faithfulness. For over a century, this man would have been the butt of ridicule all over the planet. This is the reason why Noah was a man of God. He obeyed God no matter what the circumstances suggested or the world said. Noah did not establish the truth of a matter by what the majority thought but by what God thought. This man was willing to bear the sneers of the world around


him and submit himself to the revealed will of God. His heart was anchored on the rock of Gods word. Alexander Maclaren writes, The far-off flood was more real to him than the shows of life around him. Therefore he could stand all the gibes, and gave himself to a course of life which was sheer folly unless that future was real. The basis for Noahs faith was the word of God. We can only but imagine how his blood ran cold when he heard of Gods coming judgment. Every day he looked on his three maturing sons he must have feared for their spiritual wellbeing. It should always be noted that Noah did not just build an ark, but he also built a testimony and a godly family. Let every believer heed his example. Alexander Maclaren observes, For a hundred and twenty years the wits laughed, and the common-sense people wondered, and the patient saint went on hammering and pitching at his ark. But one morning it began to rain; and by degrees, somehow, Noah did not seem quite such a fool. The jests would look rather different when the water was up to the knees of the jesters; and their sarcasms would stick in their throats as they drowned. So is it always. So it will be at the last great day. The men who lived for the future, by faith in Christ, will be found out to have been the wise men when the future has become the present, and the present has become the past, and is gone for ever; while they who had no aims beyond the things of time, which are now sunk beneath the dreary horizon, will awake too late to the conviction that they are outside the ark of safety, and that their truest epitaph is Thou fool! Now, this incident has profound application to us. The past is the key to the future (cf. Matt. 24:37-39). History will repeat itself. We live in a day when the warnings of Scripture are ridiculed all over this planet. The Bible warns that this will be true in the last days, Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:3-7) Just as men ignored the warnings by Noah that preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5) so they will ignore the warnings of another holocaust that will wipe out this planet by fire. Despite the billions of dollars in medical and scientific research, there is no long-term future for this planet or its inhabitants. Dont invest your time and energy in a world that will ultimately fail. Another global storm is heading the way of this earth. After 1650 years God judged this earth. Here we are over 4500 years later on the brink of another global destruction. The only eternal anchor of hope is rooted in Gods word, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:35). The only way of escaping is by faith in the revealed Christ of Scripture. There is no physical boat to get inside today, but Jesus Christ is that Ark of Salvation for every sinner. Flee to the ark of Christ today.


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 4. What are the difficulties in standing alone for God? How can we help our children to stand alone? How can we witness to the world yet not live like the world? How can parents witness to their children in a time like ours?

5. 6.


Shut In or Shut Out (Genesis 7:1-24)
The description before us of Gods judgment in this chapter is a sobering reminder that God is a holy and just God. He has absolute sovereign power over His creation. God is continuously judging sin on this planet such as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, the most comprehensive judgment that has ever befallen this planet to date was unleashed in the form of a global flood. Almost every living creature perished. It is no mere metaphor of judgment but a historical reality. 1650 years after God created the first world and pronounced it good He was compelled to completely obliterate it. This was not a one-time event! This Flood is a preview of the greater judgment to come. History will repeat itself more than 4500 years later. The fact that He did it once is a sure reminder that He will do it again. The new earth that emerged, which we inhabit, will also one day be destroyed again. This time it will be by fire.
And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. (v1-4)

The final point has been reached. The day of grace is over. Noah is 600 years old and his grandfather Methuselah had just passed away after 969 years on this planet. Methuselahs name reminded the world in his long life that after he dies the judgment shall come. 120 years have passed since God declared, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years (Gen. 6:3). There is no court of appeal from Gods sovereign sentence. There was more than enough room on this huge ark for the animals that we see genetically represented on the planet today in all the diversity of the species. For instance, just one pair of male and female dogs could carry the potential genetic diversity we see today in the dog species from the Great Danes to the poodles. The parent species likely took up less than half of the arks capacity. There was plenty of room for other humans to come on board. We also have here the first distinction in Scripture between clean and unclean animals. It was not that the clean animals were morally superior to the unclean or even intrinsically more hygienic. Both were originally part of Gods glorious creation that He declared good. Indeed, God saved both clean and unclean types on the ark and in the NT the distinction for purposes of diet are removed (cf. 1 Tim. 4:4). God used this division of clean/unclean as an object lesson to the OT saints of separation and holiness. Later Moses would set this forth in detail in Leviticus, but clearly there was knowledge of this principle many years before the written law to Israel. It is notable that Cain and Abel were aware of the need to sacrifice in Genesis 4 and later we find men like Abraham paying tithes and sacrificing long before the Mosaic law was codified.


Clearly, God had communicated the gospel to these pre-Israel saints and the need to express their faith through these OT ordinances. Seven pairs of clean animals were needed, as some would be sacrificed when Noah emerged from the ark (cf. Gen. 8:20). Others would be needed for regular sacrifices until the species started to reproduce on the new earth. So to prevent the species of clean animals being made extinct immediately after the Flood, Noah was to bring along additional pairs. How tragic that since sins malignant presence entered into the world it had so multiplied throughout the possible billions on the planet that God testified, for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation. Despite all the many descendants of the godly line of men like Seth, Enoch, and Lamech only one man is declared righteous on the earth. Gods verdict on a mans life is ultimately what counts. CH Spurgeon notes, GOD keeps His eyes upon the sons of men and He searches among them for certain individuals upon whom He delights to fix His gaze. These are not the kings and princes. These are not the men of talent or of fashion. These are not the men who are regarded by their fellows as famous. When God speaks of having seen Noah, He speaks of having seen one of the kind of men for whom He was looking, namely, a righteous man. There is not a righteous man upon the earth whom God does not see. He may be in a very obscure position, his circumstances may be those of poverty, he may be anything but famous. But as long as he is righteous, God delights to look upon him. Now, even in Gods judgment He tempers it with another short window of grace and mercy, For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. The rest of the world was given one more week to repent. What magnificent forbearance by the God of grace!
And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. (v5 -9)

The total obedience of the man Noah is amazing and glorious to behold. From beginning to end he never came up with his own plans but simply followed Gods. One mistake in that arks construction could have cost his familys lives. There is nothing in the text that even implies that during this 120 long years God spoke directly to Noah. This man heard Gods command to give this significant part of his life and wealth to building a gigantic ark. Even in his advanced technological age, this was no easy request. It probably cost Noah everything. By faith alone he submitted without expressing doubt or questioning the Lords sovereign wisdom. His faith was no merely academic but demonstrated by his works. Noah turned his back on conventional scientific, philosophical, and religious opinion of the majority to simply believe on Gods promises and character. Then the Lord told him to get into the ark with his family and we read, And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark. This man turned his back on the world fully persuaded that God would do exactly what He promised He would do. His whole life was shaped in conformity to Gods word about the coming judgment. He was willing to let go


off the things of this world in order to obtain the world he cannot see. This wooden box filled with animals was no luxury cruise ship. Although it may not have been the most glamorous place to enter in Noahs cultured world, it was the only safe one. When Noah came out of that ark it would be a very different world from the one he left from.
And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noahs wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the L ORD shut him in. (v10-16)

The final day for the old world eventually arrived. Noah had preached righteousness for 120 years three times longer than most preachers. Now he would preach no more sermons to the scoffers. Gods grace does have a limit. He will now destroy the world. As the sovereign ruler over this fallen planet, God has the absolute right and power to take the life of any man, woman or child. The King of kings has the sovereign prerogative over the life and death of his subjects. Additionally, as every person is born in sin and as the wages of sin is death, then God has the right to remove him or her at any time. God owes no person a long life on this earth. That does not mean that God delights in judgment but it means that He will not evade it. There is always a time when the free offer of salvation will be over. God takes full responsibility for judging sinners, See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand (Deut. 32:39). There clearly was a major seismic change in the hydrology and topography of the earth, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. Powerful earthquakes and volcanic activity must have thrown out vast quantities of water from below the ground. Previous to this, there had been no rain on the earth. Likely the world was much flatter than it is now. There were probably not the great ocean basins and high mountains we see today. Now, this flood would change everything. The physical features we see today on the earths terrain like the Grand Canyon and the millions of fossils bear testimony to this. Scaling the highest peak would not save your life. There was only one safe place on the whole earth for man or beast. By faith Mr. & Mrs. Noah, Mr. & Mrs. Shem, Mr. & Mrs. Ham, and Mr. & Mrs. Japheth found it. They did not hesitate or linger when God called them in. God probably shut the door because Noah and his family would have been tempted to open it when the deluge came.
And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upwa rd did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the


ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. (v17-24)

This day doubtless began as every other day, but it would not end that way. The people went about their regular business living their lives for themselves. They must have laughed as they watched as Noah entered into the ark that he had spent so many years constructing. The orderly appearance and parade of tens of thousands of animal species arriving in pairs during those seven days was a truly remarkable sight. The obvious supernatural guidance of the animals in pairs into the ark should have touched the conscience of the observing rebellious world. Judgment would now come suddenly, but not without warning. For the first time in their lives the inhabitants of the world felt rain falling on their heads. The Hebrew words used indicate a torrential downpour. Once it began to rain it would not stop until they were all drowned. For six long weeks the rain poured down in torrents. It is a terrible and sobering image of a world completely wiped out by water. No one is mocking Noah now. Gods Word would have the last word! It always does. The worldlings willfully went on Rebellious till their day was past. They forced the lingering deluge down And perished in their sins at last. The whole future of life on the new earth was tied up in one gopher wood ark floating on the top of the torrents. This was no romantic experience for those in the ark. We can only but imagine the feelings of Noah and his family there. They were embarking on the most incredible journey of faith ever in this giant floating zoo. It would have been far from a comfortable experience with the giant tidal waves battering the vessel. There was no means of controlling where they were going. Nor could they escape the confines of the ark to go for a walk to admire the beauty of Gods natural world. There were no windows for them to see out and they must have been aware of the cries of the people perishing all around them. Many of these would have been friends and relatives. Some may even have tried holding onto the ark as the waters rose and pleaded to get in. There must also have been the fear of the unknown future of how long they would be in this ark and what the world would be like when the flood waters abated. For over a year God does not appear to have spoken to them. This silence would have been a trial of faith. They had to trust Gods promises and Gods character. And because they trusted God all of us are here. However, they would find that the same covenant God who brings destruction would also bring deliverance to His trusting saints. Gods power to save is just as great as His power to destroy. Liberals have tried to argue that this was just some localised flood. However, the Bible makes crystal clear that this was a global flood. Facts such as: the need for an ark, the language used to describe the extent of the universal death like every and all, the fact that all the mountains were covered, the long time which it took for the flood waters to abate, and that Genesis 9:19 and 10:32 argue that the earth was repopulated from Noahs family. It would also mean that Gods promise never to destroy the world in this manner again was untrue (cf. Gen. 8:21-22; 9:15-16), as He has permitted localised floods since then. Spurgeon summarised the biblical position,


If Moses had meant to describe a partial deluge upon only a small part of the earth, he used very misleading language! But if he meant to teach that the deluge was universal, he used the very words which we might have expected that he would use. I should think that no person, merely by reading this chapter, would arrive at the conclusion that has been reached by some of our very learned mentoo learned to hold the simple Truth of God! Furthermore, there is even the widespread evidence of flood stories in many cultures, which indicate a common source of this truth. Hugh Miller argues, The destruction of well nigh the whole human race in an early age of the worlds history by a great deluge appears to have so impressed the minds of the few survivors and seems to have been handed down to their children in consequence with such terror struck impressiveness that their remote descendents of the present day have not even yet forgotten it. It appears in almost every mythology and lives in the most distant countries and among the most barbarous tribes. In v23 we are given this summary, And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. It is difficult to imagine more clear language to argue for the historical, global flood than that! Now God does not give us all the scientific explanation as to how He destroyed the earth. The focus on this incident in Genesis is more about the why that the how. The door of the ark was open until the last possible moment, but no one was interested in trusting Gods word. There was room for many more in the ark. Doubtless, Noah hoped that at least some more of his relatives would come on board. However, deathbed repentances are rare. The Puritans observed of the dying thief on the Cross, We have one account of a deathbed repentance in order that no man need despair; we have only one, in order that no man may presume. Now God shut the door and there was no further opportunity of mercy. Not one escaped the judgment of the Flood that had missed the boat! There was only hope in Gods ordained vessel of salvation. You had to be in it to live. It wasnt enough to: know about the ark, believe that the ark could save your life, and even believe that God was going to judge the world for its sin. You had to be inside the ark to be saved. The same is true today. Just as the period of grace finally expired in Noahs day, so it will for men today. Gods judgment is hanging over this planet. While His wrath may be slow to manifest towards sin it is always certain. It could be unleashed suddenly at any time. The only hope is in Jesus Christ as Gods ordained vessel of salvation. Knowing about Him and admiring Him will not save your life. You have to be united in Christ to escape the coming judgment. The invitation is open today to all sinners, And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17) This is an urgent call, as He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly (Rev. 22:20). The door is about to close at any moment.


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 7. Was God fair to drown the whole world? What evidence of His grace was there to these people before He flooded the world? What are the evidences that this was a global flood? What parallels will there be between the destruction of the world in Noahs day and the destruction of our world?

8. 9.


The New World (Genesis 8:1-22)
The future of the new world was tied up in a wooden box floating around on the waves. Noah and his family are safe on that ark. DL Moody once used this incident to illustrate assurance of salvation to a concerned believer. This man told Moody that he did not feel saved. Moody asked, Was Noah safe in the ark? Certainly he was, the man replied. Moody then asked, Well, what made him safe, his feeling or the ark? The man grasped the application. We are not safe because we feel safe but because we know that God is always faithful to His promises to keep us from eternal judgment. The old world has been completely obliterated and remade, the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (2 Peter 3:6). This was the first great extinction of life on this planet by an aquatic holocaust. Now, Noah and his family will step out into a very different world from they left. Nothing looked the same. All of their past world had all been erased. Apart from the sea creatures, everything that was living before had been destroyed. Thomas Whitelaw has said, Never had the world looked on such a vindication of the insulted holiness and offended justice of Almighty God and never will it look upon another till the hour strikes when the heavens being on fire shall dissolve and the Lord himself shall be revealed in flaming fire. All the vast canyons and mountain peaks we see today were now visible to Noahs family. There would have been no trees and limited vegetation at this point. No homes or cities remained. The planet would have been less congenial to life than the previous world. There would be a rapid decline in human life expectancy after the flood. It must have been a very strange and even frightening experience for Noah and his family.
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (v1-4)

The water would prevail on the earth for 150 days. Noah and his family would ultimately be on the boat for a total of one year and one month. Drifting aimlessly around in the ark was probably a lonely place for Noah and his family after 40 days of continuous torrential downpours. One day flowed into another with no sign that their journey was over. This was no luxury cruise liner with entertainment and diverse buffet menus to enjoy. It may have become smelly and cramped if the animals reproduced in the normal manner. Such conditions could have bred discontentment and boredom. There may have even been disagreements, as it would not have been easy to live with your sons, your daughters-in-law, and your wife in an enclosed space for over a year. They were sinful humans after all! There may have even been a temptation to feel that God had forgotten about them. Noah may have asked himself Why hasnt God spoken to me? The Psalmist cried, Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? (Psa. 10:1). The Chinese pastor Wong Ming-Dao was imprisoned for 23 years during the Cultural Revolution. There was no


indication that he would ever be released. One verse that helped him in all of the loneliness and suffering was from the prophecy of Micah, Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me (Micah 7:7). Gods love and care for His creatures is not conditional upon our circumstances, And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark. This expression And God remembered Noah does not mean that God had forgotten Noah, as God is omniscient. It simply means that God had stayed true to his promises to Noah of Genesis 6:18 and was about to act on them. This is still the same for us today. Trials and floods cannot separate us from Gods grace. We may not have heard Gods voice for an extended period, but He still is faithful to His promises to us. Dont always expect to hear His voice in the midst of trials. Job had to endure all of his great afflictions before he finally heard the voice of God. However, the Lord does not forget His child for one moment. Even the very hairs of our head are numbered by Him! God is still on the throne, He never forsaketh His own; His promise is true, He will not forget you, God is still on the throne. The same God who sent the floodwaters can also send the wind to restrain the water, and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged. However, the waters are not dried up instantly. God will use the natural elements to accomplish this. This will take time, which will be a test of Noahs patience and faith. God has His own timetable and we are required to wait on Him. He could have chosen to dry up the ground instantly but He sovereignly chose not to do so. The whole contours of the earth would have been changed by the cataclysmic upheaval of the flood. It is probable that the flood waters would have retreated to drain into the vast ocean basins and leave the exposed newly formed mountain ranges. The ark is guided by providence to rest upon the mountains of Ararat. We are not sure exactly where this area is, but there is a Mount Ararat in southeast Turkey, which is 17,000 feet high. It is the highest peak in Turkey. So it is logical that the ark would have touched that peak first as it would be uncovered before the others by the decreasing floodwaters. Local tradition is that this is the place where Noahs ark landed. However, the truth of the Bible is not established whether anyone finds evidence of an ark on that particular peak.
And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen. And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. (v5 -9)

Waiting cooped up in the ark must have been frustrating. It must have been a long year for this family. The initial excitement would have given way to monotony. Doubtless many of us would have leapt out at the first sight of land. However, Noah does not try and force the door open


and run out. He has learned to be patient and wait on the leading of providence. His life was characterised by consistent obedience to Gods will. The last thing he heard God say over a year before was come thou and all thy house into the ark (Gene. 7:1). Noah will wait until God commands him to come out of the same ark. He will not take one step without Gods permission. Most of us struggle with patience. But often we are called to wait in silence. That is a test of our faith. For it is where we have the least amount of control, that we can exercise the greatest amount of faith. It is also the place where God gets the greatest glory in our lives. Noah did not know when and where they would ever leave the Ark. But he knew enough about God to trust His promises and character. So Noah remained faithful in his duties, while waiting for Gods next direction in his life. He waits patiently but alert to the direction of providence. As the boat had landed on a mountain peak, there was no way of knowing how far the waters had receded in the valleys below. While waiting for God to direct him out, Noah sent out some of the birds as co-opted spies. He first sent out a raven from the window at the top of the ark. Noah did this probably because the raven was a scavenger bird that fed on dead carcasses. So if it did not return, then Noah could assume that there were still decaying flesh floating around still in the waters. By sending out a dove, which was a vegetarian bird that needed a settled spot to rest, Noah could deduce whether there was any vegetation growing out of the formerly flooded land. That way he would know whether there was life growing again in the plant world. So the raven would tell Noah if there was death still out there and the dove would tell him whether life was sprouting out there. When the dove returned, Noah knew that there was little accessible, if any, vegetation alive. The fact that Noah sent out these two birds may be an insight into how much they wanted out of the arks confines. The decision to select these two birds indicates that Noah was a very resourceful man. It is no wonder he was able to construct such an ark. He was clearly a man of great insight and wisdom. He must have acquired much knowledge in a life of over 600 years.
And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. (v10-12)

Again Noah remained patient. He is confident that God is in control and had promised to preserve his family. So, Noah was content to wait until God wanted to bring them out of the ark. He doid the same test again a week later and this time, And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off. Noah heart must have leapt, as this would have been the first piece of vegetation he touched in the new world. There was now renewed hope for his family. God had kept His promise. Noah was able to deduce then, that the waters were abated from off the earth. Some vegetation was now growing somewhere on the exposed hills. A final test in another week established the certainty of this conclusion as the dove returned not again unto him any more.
And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons,


and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. (v13-17)

It is interesting to note that Noah after studying his test with the raven and the dove does not rush out yet. He still wants to hear from God. That is faith. God then orders them to leave and re-affirms the creation mandate that was originally given in Genesis 1:20-28. Its as if God told them to re-start again what Adam and Eve began 1650 years previously. That is what they did and every one of us are descended from Noah and his wife.
And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (v18-20)

As soon as God gives the word, Noah and his family leave the ark. This was a step of faith as the ark was the place of safety for over a year. It meant trusting God for a totally unknown future. The new environment was no Eden picture book as the vegetation would have been sparse at this stage. There may even have been bones and carcasses scattered all over the planet. So by faith Noah built and entered the ark, but also by faith he left it. The Christian pilgrimage can take sharp turns in the path of life as we are following the Lords leading. Often God asks us to take great steps of faith. The stark world that had been desolated by death and destruction would have been a very sobering reminder of the consequences of sin. It would also remind Noah and his family of the amazing manner God had protected and provided for them on the ark. That must have been humbling. Noah had learned in this trial that where Gods finger points, there Gods hand will make the way. He knew that God had done it all from beginning to end. Noah could sing with thankfulness to the God who had kept him and his family through such an ordeal, Every joy or trial falleth from above, Tracd upon our dial by the Sun of Love; We may trust Him fully all for us to do; They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true. There was much for Noah to do when he left the ark. Removing all of the things on the boat and building a shelter for his family were pressing concerns. There were no servants to assist them and he was an old man of over 600 years old. But it is interesting that God remembered Noah in the ark in v1 and now Noah remembers God, And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord. The amazing thing is not that God remembered Noah but that Noah remembered God. The natural tendency of man is to forget Gods goodness. Noahs first thought is Godward. The first recorded action in his new life in the new world is to gather his family to worship the Lord. Before he builds a house for Noah, this man builds an altar for the Lord. This is a man in word and deed who truly obeys what our Lord commanded, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33). Time given to God is never lost!


Noah did not have a proud heart because he and his family were spared the great flood. Nor did he presume that he could approach God outside the shed blood sacrifice. He knew their survival was not down to luck. His heart was tender, thankful, and sensitive towards God. Although Noah had few enough animals to survive in the hostile new world, the fact that he took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar indicates that this was a sacrificial and wholehearted dedication offering to the Lord. It also indicates that he recognised the sinfulness of the hearts of his family, the danger of sin, and the need for forgiveness of sin.
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for mans sake; for the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have don e. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (v21-22)

The Lord notes this act of wholehearted and sacrificial worship. This reference to God smelling the sweet savour is an anthropomorphic way of saying God was pleased with Noahs act and attitude. Gods heart is moved to respond with a wonderful promise of assurance that this new earth will never be completely destroyed again by a flood, neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. This covenantal promise is not conditional on Noah or any other mans obedience. It is certainly not that man is better now post-Flood, as the Lord acknowledges, for the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth. Man is born in depravity. He is not conceived inherently good or morally neutral, Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psa. 51:5). That truth will become readily apparent in the next few chapters. This covenantal promise must have been a great comfort to any anxieties in the heart of Noah and his family as they stepped forth to re-populate the earth. Now, this covenantal promise does not mean that God will never judge humanity again in a corporate sense. However, the next judgment for mankind will not come, While the earth remaineth. As long as this earth is standing, God promises, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. All of the laws of nature are the hand of God. 24 hours a day the seasons broadcast the handiwork of an orderly sovereign God. A. W. Pink points out, behind Natures laws is Natures Lord. The Scriptures promise that there will be a final judgment to destroy the earth one more time. But this time it will be by fire. This new world has a finite time span also. The destruction of the old world prefigures the future. The universal flood was Gods single greatest warning to the final end of this current planet. Time is running out and God has the date for this earths destruction settled in His calendar. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:710)


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 10. 11. 12. What concerns would Noah and his family have on the ark? Why is waiting on God so hard? What evidence is there that Noah is a man of faith?


A Great Fall by a Great Man (Genesis 9:1-29)
The new world has begun with only eight persons from the old world. Gods purposes for humanity will not be defeated by sin. However, the depraved nature of fallen man has not changed as, the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth (Gen. 8:21). Both sin and its wages death will survive the flood. Eight sinners walked off that ark! Notwithstanding, God has promised never again to destroy all of mankind by a global flood. So God underlines in this chapter the sanctity of human life. This is a vital foundational principle for us to grasp today with the constant erosion of this eternal truth by society.
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. (v1-4)

In Gods blessing on Noah and his descendants emphasises the need to re-populate the earth as Gods divine purpose. In doing so, the Lord impliedly declares that mans life has an inherent superiority over the animals and plants, into your hand are they delivered. Today many of the socalled animal rights movements regard animal life as superior to human life. Some extremists are even willing to take human life to save animal lives. There are others who regard man as just another animal species in the evolutionary chain. However, the Bible always emphasises the uniqueness of the creation of man from other creatures. Before the flood, both men and animals may well have been vegetarian (cf. Gen 1:29-30). But now, man is explicitly told he can eat meat, Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. There is nothing spiritual about being a vegetarian! Although man was permitted now to eat meat, there was a part of the animal forbidden to eat, But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. This prohibition was repeated to Israel in Leviticus 17:10-12.
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every mans brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man. (v5-6)

In the pre-Flood generation, violence was a common reality of everyday life on the planet, The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence (Gen. 6:11). Men like Cain and Lamech led the way in debasing the sanctity of human life. Now the Lord explicitly sets forth the principle of capital punishment by governments for murder, Whoso sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed. This principle even extends to an animal that kills a man, at the hand of every beast will I require it (cf. Exod. 21:28-32). This pre-dates the civil law given by God through Moses to Israel by hundreds of years. Therefore, capital punishment for murder is universal in application in all of time. Indeed, the apostle Paul accepted its legitimacy in respect of himself, 26

For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar (Acts 25:11). The Lord explains to Noah why the sanctity of a mans life is so important, for in the image of God made He man. God views every human life as significant. Unlike the other creatures, man can meditate, reason, worship, appreciate aesthetics, plan, and experience the sensitive emotions of personal relationships. He alone has the capacity for fellowship with God. The Fall of man has tarnished or marred the image of God in man (cf. Eph 4:18-19). However, the Fall did not eradicate the image of God in him. If you look closely, there are still aspects of every man that resembles the image of God. Therefore, every man and woman in this world is significant. All are stamped with the image of God. There are no mere mortals. We are a chosen and privileged order in creation. The world may judge you as irrelevant, but God never does. Every human is intrinsically significant to God and, therefore, they should be to us.
And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every livin g creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish My covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the w aters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. (v7-11)

The Lord repeats His purpose for Noah and his descendants to propagate the earth. He then sets forth a covenantal unconditional promise with man and beast that He will never again destroy the earth with a universal flood, And I will establish My covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. God has kept that gracious promise now for over 4,000 years! This detailed repetition that He would never again send a universal flood would have assured the fearful hearts of Noah and his family about a future judgment on sin. Doubtless, the repetitive nature was to particularly emphasise to these people who had come through the worlds greatest catastrophic judgment that it would not happen again. They were to believe this by faith in Gods perfect word irrespective of their feelings. It should be noted that nowhere does it say that local floods, storms or any other form of natural judgment will not be sent in the future from God for sin.
And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth. (v12-17)

The Lord adds a sign to affirm His covenantal promise never again to destroy the earth with a universal flood. This would be the sign of the beautiful rainbow in the sky where the water had fallen to destroy the old earth. Steve Cole explains,


Gods sign of the rainbow was both gracious and appropriate. God put the sign in the clouds, where Noah and his family would have looked with fear when the storms came. The same water which destroyed the earth now causes the rainbow. Arising, as it does, from the conjunction of the sun and the storm, it points to Gods mercy breaking through even in His judgment. Coming at the end of the storm, it shows that the storm of Gods wrath is past.
And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. (v18-21)

The Bible is the most realistic and honest book in the world. It paints its heroes in candid colours! It is not without insignificance that many fall into the most depressing of sins even as mature believers. We see many illustrations of this truth in Scripture. King David fell into adultery and murder as a middle aged man. Moses was described as the meekest man on the planet (Num. 12:3) yet lost his temper at the end of the wilderness wanderings when he was over a century old. The godly king, Hezekiah late in his life fell into the sin of pride. These wonderful men of faith proved to have feet of clay. These failures of mature saints who had been used by God warn us that we need to humbly watch our testimony, Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12). Grey hairs do not provide sinless perfection. The problem with sin is not merely an outward problem. The life of a believer is one long internal battle between the flesh and the spirit. No one will be able to boast that they are free from this inner conflict. This battle is not for a few inferior saints but something that is the common experience of every believer. The evangelist D. L. Moody recognised this spiritual struggle and once said, I have more trouble with D. L. Moody than with any man I know. The Apostle Paul commands believers to put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Rom. 13:14). This is because so many Christians do not act or look like Christ. Was David like Christ when he committed adultery and murder? Was Noah like Christ when he was drunk? Was Lot like the Lord when he was living it up in Sodom? Was Job like His Redeemer when he questioned God? Was the devoted disciple Peter like His Master when he denied Him with oaths and curses? Noah was one of the choicest of Gods saints. Behind Noah was the destroyed generation pre-Flood; before him was the God-ordained opportunity to re-populate the earth from his godly line. He was selected by God from all the people on the planet to be saved from the universal flood judgment, And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation (Gen. 7:1). For 600 years the Bible attests of him, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (Gen. 6:9). These are powerful testimonies. We might have expected great spiritual things from Noah after emerging from the ark. Noah may even have thought so. However, after living righteous before God and man consistently for six centuries did not prevent Noah falling into sin. If a man like Noah could fall, then we all need to be on our guard. Noahs fall happened after God had used him, and he had just heard the great covenantal promises of God. He was labouring in the field, in a legitimate God-ordained task, And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard. The devil can pervert even legitimate things for sinful purposes. We must not let our guard down even in the mundane tasks of life. Noahs sin


began when he started to let the wine ferment. This was a deliberate act, which took time. He then imbibed the alcohol, And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. This godly man was lying naked in a state of drunken shame. How had the mighty fallen! A great testimony was now in tatters. We can barely recognise the same Noah. Sin was truly alive and flourishing in the new world. Matthew Henry summarised the tragic irony of this situation, Noah lived soberly when he was surrounded by drunkenness, but he became drunken when he was surrounded by sobriety. It may be that Noah became somewhat complacent in his walk with God. He had endured the pre-Flood generation and over one year in the ark. Now when the pressures of that age has been swept away, maybe he thought he could relax somewhat after being so consistent for 600 years. Often our guard is down when the pressure of temptation seems to be reduced. Past victories over sin does not guarantee future success. The best of men are but men at the best. Mature saints are not immune to sin. We live in a world in which man boasts of his power to deal with any problem. We are told that if man just puts his mind to it then every trouble can be solved. Even Christians can succumb to the belief that we can live this life by our own power. Yes, we may sing I need Thee every hour and recite John 15:5 without Me ye can do nothing, but underneath we are quietly confident in our own strength. George Muller was known for his faith and prayer life all over the Christian world. For more than 50 years he fed hundreds of orphans by simple faith in Gods promises. His books were sold in the hundreds of thousands. Yet, as an old man, Muller still knew the power of sin and he prayed every day, Lord, dont let me become a wicked old man. Incidentally, this is the first mention of wine in the Scriptures and its effects. It is not a picture that commends drinking alcohol to any believer. It brought nothing but shame and misery to this home of believers. Countless millions have seen their lives destroyed by the potent drug of alcohol. The best way to avoid the sins associated with alcohol is not to drink. You cannot become drunk if you never drink! In the age that we live in, the best way for a Christian to maintain his or her testimony is total abstinence.
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their fathers nakedness. (v22-23)

Moses uses succinct and delicate language that reveals the sin but does not revel in it. The public sin of a father can have consequences in the lives of his children. Here we read that Noahs sin leads Ham into further sin, And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. Ham may have escaped the destruction of the previous pre-Flood age but clearly the values and spirit of it still had a lingering influence on his thinking and actions. He proved that having a godly father does not necessarily produce a godly son as, the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth (Gen. 8:21). There is such a thing as spiritual DNA that passes automatically into another generation! These three sons were from the same family, lived through the same events, and heard the same words of warning from their father, but one went a different path from the others. In reporting to his brothers the shame of his fathers drunkenness, Ham only revealed the light view he had of sin and the lack of respect he had for his father. True love for his father, Rejoiceth not in iniquity (1 Cor. 13:6). The awful judgment of the Flood had not truly touched his soul. Ham broke the fifth commandment in dishonouring his father. Moses draws the


connection with the gross immorality of Hams descendants, And Ham, the father of Canaan. The Canaanites were infamous for their sexual immorality (cf. Gen. 15:16; Lev. 18). Sin often flows through many generations. Hams family history is like reading the unfolding story of the lineage of Cain. The Bible draws a sharp contrast in Hams attitude with that of Shem and Japheth. The language deliberately emphasises that they did everything they could to respect the honour and dignity of their father. Even to the point of walking backwards. They sought to restore their father in the spirit of meekness that is mindful of ones own propensity to fail (cf. Gal. 6:1). Their actions were an implied rebuke to the conduct of their brother Ham. They sought to honour their father as much as possible even when he failed. Sin and its shame, even in others, should never be something that interests or amuses us. In our decadent age, sadly many believers are not shocked by shameful images like this anymore. Some can regularly watch such scenes with interest and amusement on television screens without embarrassment. Too many are desensitized to sin.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died. (v24-29)

The sons of Noah were not boys but grown married men. Noah discerned the evil actions of Ham. Perhaps, the other brothers reported it to him or Noah remembered it even in his drunken haze. The reaction of Noah indicates that he recognised his sin and there is no indication that he ever repeated this sin of drunkenness. He also discerned that these actions reflected the heart of these three sons. Noah also speaks words or rebuke and commendation to his three sons. The words were more of a prophecy than a curse, as they will summarises the history of his descendants. They were not simply words reflecting the anger of Noah as God prophetically fulfilled them. This curse on Hams descendants was not one of skin colour. God eventually allowed the Canaanites to be subjugated by the descendants of Shem and Japheth and they became, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren (cf. Josh. 9:23; 1 Kings 9:20-21). Kidner comments, For his breach of family, his own family would falter. By contrast, the Lord did bless the descendants of Shem and Japheth. These two sons honoured their father even when he fell and acted with propriety. They proved that temptation does not have to be yielded to. When a man fears God and reverences His word concerning sin, this will bring a blessing to his life. As a consequence, his family will be blessed. Nothing is added about Noahs spiritual walk for the next 350 years that he lived. The same reign of death for sin is recorded, and he died. Was Noahs testimony drastically affected now before his family? What we can be sure is that he carried the guilt of knowing that his sin of drunkenness and impropriety had led his son to sin and that at least one line of his descendants would be cursed as a consequence. It is sad that a man who lived such an exemplary life for so long of witnessing, building, and preaching should fail this way. Noah dishonoured himself, and then he is dishonoured by his son. This would be a source of continual sorrow to Noah, especially as he witnessed the multiplication of sin in the descendants of Ham.


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 13. 14. 15. What is sacred about human life? Why is it sacred? Should we fear Gods judgment on sin? What influence can a parent have on the sins of a child? Give examples from the Bible.


Origins of all Nations (Genesis 10:1-32)
This chapter sets forth a genealogy table of the nations of this world. It is simply divided between the descendants of Japheth (v1-5), Ham (v6-20), and Shem (v21-32). The last verse of Genesis 10 summarises the chapter, These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. The fact that these names are listed in this detail means they have importance. The spiritual significance of these lists must always be kept in focus. The chapter serves as a bridge between Abraham and Adam. It also bears witness to the reality of Gods blessing delivered in Genesis 9:1 to Noahs descendants. If there are no gaps in this genealogical table, then Noah lived almost to Abrahams life. These genealogies may not appear very interesting on the surface but they are an important part of Scripture. It is not just a passage to be endured but to be enjoyed. If it wasnt for this record, we would be confused as to the origins of man. It is why the Middle East of the world has been called, the cradle of civilization. Not every nation in the world is mentioned, but the roots of every nation are set out here through the descendants of Noah. This is our family tree! It teaches that all the races of the world are all linked to the same DNA of Noah. All of us are related to all the good people and all the evil people of history so there is no need for pride in our ancestry! Joseph Parker noted, This reflection is both humbling and elevating. It is humbling to think that the cannibal is a relative of ours; that the slave crouching in an African wood is bone of our bone; and that the meanest scum of all the earth started from the same foundation as ourselves! On the other hand, it is elevating to think that all kings and mighty men, all soldiers renowned in song, all heroes canonized in history, the wise, the strong, the good, are our elder brothers and immortal friends..Our ancestors have been robbers and oppressors, deliverers and saviours, mean and noble, cowardly and heroic; some hanged, some crowned, some beggars, some kings; take it so, for the earth is one, and humanity is one, and there is only one God over all blessed for evermore! These truths should teach us that we should care for the eternal souls of all men. There is no such thing in reality as foreign missions as all souls are mine (Eze. 18:4). Allegiance to our country of birth should not blind us to the great commission to take the Gospel to all. However, the list will carefully lead us to one of the descendants of Shem in the person of Abraham. That is why it is not comprehensive, as it has a defined focal point. So it is deliberately selective, for it relates to Gods purposes through the Hebrew Patriarchs, Israel, and ultimately the Messiah. Vanderwaal says this, Soon the revelation of the Lord was to be restricted to the circles of Abrahams descendants, but before this revelation bids the nations farewell, all of them pass once more in review. Moses told Israel the link between them and the other nations, When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children


of Israel. For the Lords portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. (Deut. 32:8-9) This written map of the Middle Eastern world will have explanatory value for the children of Israel concerning the nations around them. This is especially true of the Canaanites. Theses descendants of Ham will become the greatest enemies of Israel. The expression after the flood (v1, 32) links the development of the nations from that great event. Sadly, few of the nations that emerged lived in the fear of the knowledge of Gods judgment on sin. By the time of Moses, most were consumed with idolatry and the sins that were prevalent in the days before the Flood. These people are those of Romans one who, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Rom. 1:21). That tragic decline is still witnessed today in the nations of this planet. Noah lived for 350 years after the Flood. He and his three sons could have born testimony to the reality of those terrible events. It must have saddened his heart to witness the rapid degeneration of his immediate descendants. The spiritual life in the new world soon paralleled that of the old world. Man did not evolve into a better person after the Flood! The descendants of Noah lived separated from one another and from God. Because of the latter, there was the former. Paul reminds us that God, hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation (Acts 17:26). The biological unity of humanity is why blood can be transfused from a black African woman to a white European man to save his life. However, even this division of nations was under the sovereign control of God. It did not happen by mans might or mere coincidence. History involves man but history is still His Story!
Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. (v1-5)

The first group listed in v1-5 are the descendants of Japheth. We get a hint in this account that chapters 10 and 11 are not strictly chronological as the divisions listed here are in light of the confusion of languages that took place in Genesis 11:1-9, By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue. Most commentators regard the descendants of Japheth as being those of the Indo-European nations. Indeed, the ancient Greeks claimed that their ancestor was a man named Japetos.
And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim. And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth, And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, And the


Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations. (v6-20)

The next section deals with the descendants of Ham. They are more exhaustively detailed. Doubtless, one of the reasons for this was that they would have been in closer proximity to Israel as they prepared to enter Canaan. Many of them we are told made up the families of the Canaanites. These descendants of Ham spread from the Middle East into North Africa. For instance, Mizraim refers to Egypt, Cush is Ethiopia, and Put is likely Libya. The Scriptures focus in on a particular individual descended directly from Cush called Nimrod. Like Lamech in Genesis 4, his character is representative of the spiritual lineage of Hams descendants. We are told of Nimrod, And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. This expression before the Lord carries the idea in the Hebrew of in the face of the Lord or against the Lord. He was a man who pursued his ambitions in defiance of Gods word. Nimrod had no fear of Gods power or presence. Nimrod was clearly a man of considerable abilities. He founded both Babylon and Nineveh, the two great cities of antiquity. The expression, he began to be a mighty one in the earth is reminiscent of the nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6 before the Flood. The word hunter could well mean that he was a hunter of men, which if true parallels the violent murderous nature of the men pre-Flood. He would have consolidated his empire by acting as a tyrannical and ruthless despot. Nimrod would have been great in ability, but also great in sin. It is noteworthy that the cities associated with him such as Nineveh and Babylon became renown for their rebellion against God, their cruel oppression of Gods people, their idolatry, and their pride. Nimrods cities were man-centred and he would have seen them to be erected by his power and for his glory. Nimrod and many of the Hamites founded at least three of the six great empires recorded in Scripture Egyptian, Babylonian, and Persian. They were great in the terms of this world, but not in eternal terms. They achieved influence and wealth in this life, because there is none for them in the life to come. They are not an example to envy or emulate. Many have sought to do so and ruthlessly build their own empires. However, we should never equate material blessing to mean that this always signifies spiritual blessing. For as Matthew Henry notes of this passage, Those under the curse of God may yet perhaps thrive and prosper greatly in this world; for we cannot know love or hatred, the blessing or the curse by what is before us, but by what is in us. The curse of God always works really and always terribly; but sometimes it is a secret curse, a curse to the soul, and it does not work immediately; but sinners are by it reserved for, and bound over to a day of wrath. Canaan here has a better land than either Shem or Japheth, and yet they have a better lot, for they inherit the blessing. The Lord commanded the descendants of Noah to disperse and fill the earth. However, Nimrod does not seek to disperse but consolidate power in concentrated centres. We read that he started the first recorded kingdom or empire for we read, And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. This is the first time in the Bible that


the word kingdom is used. In Genesis 9 the descendants of Ham were cursed through Canaan to be servants of Shem and Japheth. This act of empire building by Nimrod could well have been his defiant refusal to accept Gods sovereign judgment. It is reminiscent of Cains defiant attempt in Genesis 4 to build a permanent city when God cursed him to be a perpetual wanderer. The rebellious character of this man undoubtedly impressed itself upon the city. We know from the development of Babel or Babylon that it was a place given over to rebellion against God. Chapter 11:4 gave us the first insight into this. Throughout Scripture, Babel or Babylon is synonymous with such values (cf. Dan. 4:30; Rev. 17:15).
Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brothers name was Joktan. And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east. These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. (v21-32)

The final section deals with the descendants of Shem. This line will be the focus of most of Scripture. God will choose out Shems family and work through that line for His own sovereign purposes. From this family would ultimately come the Messiah (cf. Luke 3:36). The road to Jesus Christ is the ultimate goal of every part of the Bible. That is why the Shemite line will now come into greater view. The Shemites may not have been the most significant from the worlds perspective, but they are from Gods perspective. By contrast, Nimrod and his descendants may be mighty men from the earthly viewpoint but not from Gods. Even the chosen line of Shem was not without the impact of sin. We know that Abrahams family were involved in idolatry. They were chosen because of Gods sovereign electing grace and not because they were a righteous people. The name of Arphaxad is significant here as it was in the line leading directly to Abraham (Gen. 11:10-26). It is possible that from Eber came the word Hebrew. The division in the days of Peleg may well be the incident of the division of languages recorded at Babel in Genesis 11. The biblical funnel here from the nations through Shems descendants will narrow our view down to one Person through this one family the Lord Jesus Christ. He will be the way, the truth, and the life for all the nations. From Him alone, the funnel will turn around and expand to bring salvation to all the nations of the world. It is a beautiful picture that we see in heaven, And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Rev. 5:9) This chapter details and explains that there are significant differences in humanity. The next chapter will explain why there are divisions based on language. However, we should not miss also the essential unity of humanity emphasised in this chapter. There is only one human race


that we are all part of. Israel needed to be reminded that they were not a special master race (cf. Deut. 7:7). We are of one blood and we are all lost the same way, but we can all be washed by the same blood of Christ and saved the same way. O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To every believer, the promise of God; The vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice! O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, And give Him the glory, great things He hath done! QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 16. 17. 18. Are there racially superior people in this world? What do we learn about humanity in Genesis 10? What do we learn about God in Genesis 10?


Who alone is Sovereign? (Genesis 11:1-26)
There is no more comforting doctrine for the people of God in Scripture than Gods unfettered absolute sovereignty over the affairs of this planet. Living in our fast-paced knowledge-based society, it is all too easy to be intimidated by the powers of governments and corporations if we judge them from the horizontal only. However, everything is still in His control. His will shall ultimately be done. Our God is still in control of human history, for He ruleth by His power for ever (Psa. 66:7). We can sing in every age, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (Rev. 19:6). Solomon makes it clear, There are many devices in a mans heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand (Prov. 19:21) and There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord (Prov. 21:30). Man may do what he can but ultimately God will do what He wills. There is a clear demonstration in this chapter of the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God over the plans of man. Heaven rules over the affairs of man. Steve Cole notes, When a deluded man sets himself against a speeding locomotive, the train always wins. Unless you want to spend your life in futility, you must submit to the Sovereign God. The story of the division of the nations by language is placed by the Holy Spirit amidst two genealogies of the family of Shem. It explains why and how families, tribes, and finally nations emerged from the three sons of Noah. It does not happen from some evolutionary process of linguistics but from a sovereign sudden intervention by God in mans development. From chapter 12 onwards, the focus of the rest of the OT will be on Gods redemptive work through Israel.
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (v1-4)

This incident took place when there was a common language spoken by all the people on the earth, as the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. There was no hindrance to effective communication across the planet. It was a time of unprecedented unity of purpose and communication in humanity. There was nothing inherently sinful in having this unity of language. If it had been used for the glory of God, men could have worshipped God together in harmony as we witness in heaven. However, sin always debases the gracious gifts God has given to us. It must also be noted that unity is not always a virtue. Here we have unanimity but in the wrong direction. Unity is not the highest good, but obedience to Gods truth. If we take Genesis 10:25 as the timing for this event, we know that Peleg was born about 100 years after the Flood. As Peleg lived 239 years, this incident could be between 100-300 years after the Great Flood. Even though Noah lived for 350 years after the Flood, there was clearly a large group of people who refused to listen to his firsthand witness as a living testimony of Gods judgment on sinners. The fact of this illustrates just how quickly and how far sin infected


the new world to the point that God had to intervene in divine judgment again. This time He judges by dispersion rather than judgment by destruction in a flood. Now God had instructed Noah and his descendants to, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth and bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein (Gen. 9:1, 7). However, this rebellious Hamites that came to establish Babel in the land of Shinar (cf. Dan. 1:2) sought to construct a kingdom of centralised power, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name. These people refused to venture forth on Gods promises to live by faith. Nimrod, the Napolean or Hitler of his day, likely led this Eastward migration (Gen. 10:10). We are given the reason for this movement, let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Babel was clearly much more than a great building project. It was meant to make a statement. The emphasis is not only on the need to glorify man in their purpose, but to do it by mans efforts, let us make brick and let us build us a city and a tower. Throughout the centuries, there is an abundance of raw materials in the region of Shinar (modern Iraq) to be used for construction. These people recognised the effort and cost of this mammoth project, but were determined to fulfill their aspirations. They wanted to bring heaven to earth by their own efforts. There is certainly skill and ingenuity to note here in this action, but it is done without reference to God. They looked to man alone for help. There is no mention of Gods name in their reasoning or planning let us is the emphasis. The city and tower were the outward expressions of the inward sins. They were to be a symbol of mans independence from God. This is the spirit of the proud man, summed up by the poet, William Ernest Henley in the poem Invictus, It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. Fallen man is still created in the image of God. This image was debased in the Fall, but not eradicated. So, fallen man still has tremendous powers of creativity and ingenuity. Technical advancement is not necessarily a good thing. It can be a product of wicked purposes as much as godly ones. Just look at the technological marvel of the pyramids. Cities are a place of concentrated evil because of the close proximity of depraved individuals. Evil minds can work together to invent even more accessible and depraved ways to sin in such an environment. That is why people often retreat to the suburbs and outlying areas, as the depth and influence of evil can become unbearable. This was, doubtless, the greatest building project of the ancient world. It would have been the envy of all the peoples around them. The chief end of man is the glory of God. However, the chief end of Babel was the glory of man, let us make us a name. That is still true today. All around us fallen men are living on the plain of Shinar as they seek to erect great projects for their own glory. Some even name buildings after themselves! It reveals their deep insecurity amidst their pride and arrogance that they will not be remembered. Even churches and Christians need to be wary of this tendency in trusting in bricks and mortar over the Lord. Beautiful buildings must only be erected by trusting in Gods power and for Gods glory. This was to be a totally man-centred city, which would bask in the adoration of man. It was by man and for man. God was not consulted or trusted. The parallel between a later king of Babel or Babylon is striking, The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the


house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? (Dan. 4:30) The city would meet their defence and social needs, but the tower would meet their need for their religious worship of man. Even the man who rejects God, needs to worship someone or something (cf. Eccl. 3:11; Rom. 1:21-25), as man is a spiritual creature. Derek Kidner observes, The primeval history reaches its fruitless climax as man, conscious of new abilities, prepares to glorify and fortify himself by collective effort. The elements of the story are timelessly characteristic of the spirit of the world. The project is typically grandiose; men describe it excitedly to one another as if it were the ultimate achievement .... At the same time they betray their insecurity as they crowd together to preserve their identity and control their fortunes. Some even see in this incident an attempt to build a tower so high that never again could man be swept away in a global flood. It is said that these stones were waterproof. Whatever all of the reasons were, it is clear that the people of Babel were doing it in defiance of Gods perfect will. The following verses make that clear.
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one anothers speech. (v5-7)

The rebellious attitudes and acts of the post-Flood people did not escape the attention of God anymore than the pre-Flood generation. Proud man will not be allowed to thwart the purposes of God. The language the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded does not indicate that God only discovered at the last moment what was going on. The expressions are anthropomorphic to emphasise that the omniscient God especially takes note of what is going on. As the people wanted to build a tower to reach heaven, the language also pictures God as far above their feeble efforts in having to come down. The men of Babel were not divine, but merely the children of men. Bob Deffinbaugh explains, These verses are a beautifully fashioned satire on the folly of mans activities. Men had commenced to build a city with a high tower that they thought would make a name for them. Moses is suggesting to us that mans thoughts and efforts, no matter how lofty, are insignificant to God. While the top of the tower may, from the vantage point of earth, seem to pierce the clouds, to the infinite, almighty God it was a barely visible dot on the earth. It was as though God would have to stoop to view it. If God should have to descend to scrutinize this city, it was due to the insignificance of it all, not Gods inability to keep up with His creation. The Lord notes that if He does not intervene to disperse humanity from their declared objective, then the whole world will be consumed by sin, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. They will believe that they can do anything now by their own efforts. It will fuel their pride to a dangerous level. They will refuse to allow God in their thoughts and declare that the God of the gaps cannot resolve unknown questions.


However, because God is God He is not only omniscient, but He is also omnipotent. The Lord has innumerable ways to deal with this rebellious group. He has a plan and the power to fully implement the plan, Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one anothers speech. This plan of God will be not just a punishment, but also a preventative measure to stop man destroying himself. The dispersion they feared most, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth would ironically be the means of mans ultimate salvation. Man may have their plans which they have imagined to do, but only Gods plans can ultimately prevail. This is a vital truth for us to learn. We live in a world that believes and teaches that there are no limits on human potential. It is the spirit of Babel repackaged for the twenty first century.
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (v8-9)

The word Babel is a term meaning confusion. It is even used in this idiomatic way in English. So Babel became Confusion City. We are not told how this unfolded but we can only imagine the bewilderment at the building site that day. Panic and then frustration must have set in, as each worker was talking to one another in a language that was incomprehensible. Words they did not know before tumbled out of their mouths. This was a divine miracle for them to suddenly speak completely diverse and unrelated languages. That is why today at the UN assembly in New York the members have to sit with headphones on listening to the speaker through hundreds of different translations. That is a graphic picture of the consequences of Babel. These languages and nations are a potent limitation on the global aspirations of arrogant mankind. Unity that is not based on truth is not a unity that should be the objective. A divinely imposed disunity will prevent an evil unity amongst humanity. Now we should note that the development of nations and languages was not some byproduct of a gradual evolutionary process as the modern anthropologist and linguist argue, but a single, divine act of a sovereign God. That is why tribes can exist adjacent to one another and speak completely different languages, which are incomprehensible to one another. This simple act of God to touch their tongues mean that it would have been impossible to progress further, they left off to build the city. God effectively cancels the building project by just touching one of their smallest members the tongue! Mans plans are reversed. How weak man truly is! The one-world domination ambition is thwarted until God will permit the anti-christ to arise. The final sentence, from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth reveals that Gods will is ultimately done despite mans best efforts to thwart it. All of human history works to His timetable it is His Story!
These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: And Peleg lived after he begat


Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: And Serug lived after he begat Nahor t wo hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. (v10-26)

This may appear to be a boring list of names setting forth another genealogy of Shem. However, this family tree is a vital link in Gods redemptive chain. When man was devising his plans for world domination, God was quietly working in the background to effect His ultimate plan of bringing peace to all men through His Son. This would be through Shems line in the person of a chosen instrument called Abram or Abraham. Unlike the people at Babel, this man will look for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). Outside of Jesus Christ, it is arguable that Abraham will be the most important figure in Scriptures. His life and descendants dominate not only the bulk of Genesis but also all of the OT Scriptures. They were to be Gods evangelical witness of the Gospel to all the other nations of the world. The people at Babel wanted a great name for themselves. They got it but not the one they had hoped. However, this man Abraham will submit himself to the will of God and the Lord promised, I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing (Gen. 12:2). Then, and today, the message is the same. There will be no lasting satisfaction in the things of this life if they are not done by God and for God. Trying to erect a monument to your glory will fail. You will just be like the people of Babel in erecting a tower that ultimately leads to nowhere! We are not to devote our lives making a name for ourselves but to exalt His great Name. The mistakes of history are valuable only if we learn from them. The basic philosophy of mankind is Glory to man in the highest. Yet although man seeks to position in himself in the centre of the universe, he is a God-dependant creature and always will be. For the very laws of nature that man seeks to manipulate for his glory are independent of him and control him. Self-glorification is always self-defeating. Yet, man still tries to usurp Gods position! However, we are commanded, In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths (Prov. 3:6). There is an alternative tower to Babel, The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe (Prov. 18:10). Build your life on that foundation and you will never be confused or disappointed. QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 19. 20. 21. Is unity a good thing or a bad thing? What do we learn about the origin of languages in this passage? What do we learn about Gods sovereignty in this passage?